DFPS: October is Elderly Financial Exploitation Awareness Month

State & Regional

(Photo provided by the Texas DFPS)

AMARILLO, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) — The following is a news release from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services:

What could be worse than exploiting an elderly person by stealing or misusing their money or property?

Adult Protective Services (APS), a program of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), validated 1,028 cases of exploitation in Texas fiscal year 2020, compared to 950 cases in 2019 and 929 cases in 2018.

“I think communities and financial institutions are more aware of exploitation than ever before and are more protective, but we can’t relax,” said Sue Ellen Stalder, Adult Protective Services Community Engagement Specialist.

Financial exploitation is when a relative, caretaker (or anyone with an ongoing relationship) improperly or illegally uses the money or property of someone who is elderly or has a disability for personal benefit or profit.

APS is putting a spotlight on stopping financial exploitation and other important issues for the elderly from now until the end of the month. More information and resources are available on EveryonesBusiness.org.

Recognizing Financial Exploitation

The warning signs of financial exploitation include:

  • Sudden changes in bank accounts or banking practices.
  • Unexplained or unexpected withdrawal of large sums of money.
  • Adding names to someone’s bank signature card.
  • Unfamiliar people accompanying bank customers to withdraw large sums.
  • Unauthorized withdrawal of funds using ATM cards or sudden transfers of assets.
  • Sudden changes in financial documents.
  • Unpaid bills despite having enough money.
  • Previously uninvolved relatives who suddenly claim rights to a person’s affairs and possessions.
  • Abuse of power of attorney.

If you see signs of financial exploitation, call the Texas Abuse Hotline (800-252-5400) or report online at TxAbuseHotline.org.

Find out more about this issue at EveryonesBusiness.org, including tips on how Texans can protect themselves from financial exploitation.

APS Facts and Figures

  • APS is a division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Its mission is to protect people who are 65 or older or who have disabilities from abuse, neglect, and exploitation by investigating, and providing or arranging for services to alleviate or prevent further maltreatment.
  • Texas has more than five million residents who are 65 or older or who are younger adults (18-64) and have a disability.
  • APS investigated 15,832 allegations and confirmed that 1,028 people (living at home) were victims of financial exploitation in Texas last fiscal year.

(News release from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services)

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